There aren’t many books more beloved than The Tale of Peter Rabbit and even fewer authors as iconic as Beatrix Potter. Her characters—Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck, and all the rest—exist in a charmed world filled with flowers and gardens. In Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life, bestselling author Marta McDowell explores the origins of Beatrix Potter’s love of gardening and plants and shows how this passion came to be reflected in her work.
The book begins with a gardener’s biography, highlighting the key moments and places throughout her life that helped define her. Next, follow Beatrix Potter through a year in her garden, with a season-by-season overview of what is blooming that truly brings her gardens alive. The book culminates in a traveler’s guide, with information on how and where to visit Potter’s gardens today.
About the Author
Marta McDowell lives, gardens, and writes in Chatham, New Jersey. She consults for public gardens and private clients, writes and lectures on gardening topics, and teaches landscape history and horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden, where she studied landscape design. Marta’s particular interest is in authors and their gardens, the connection between the pen and the trowel. She is the 2019 winner of the Garden Club of America's Sarah Chapman Francis Medal for outstanding literary achievement. Her books include Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life, All the Presidents’ Gardens, World of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life, and Unearthing the Secret Garden. Visit her at martamcdowell.com.
“Stir your imagination. . . . a biography written through plants.” —The New York Times Book Review
“With wit and expertise, McDowell highlights the stamp of Potter’s horticultural know-how on her indelible books and chronicles a year in her exuberant gardens to create a visually exciting, pleasurably informative appreciation of Potter’s devotion to art and nature.” —Booklist
“A loving portrait.” —Better Homes and Gardens
“You will be charmed by this book.” —Gardens Illustrated
“A richly illustrated exploration of Beatrix Potter’s evolution as an author-illustrator, gardener, sheep farmer and land preservationist.” —Shelf Awareness
“Rarely does a gardening book blend such a rich love of nature, literature, home, and the magic of growing so beautifully. If you have a gardener in your life, this is the perfect holiday gift.” —Encore
“In her new book, Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life, Marta McDowell expands our knowledge of Miss Potter horticultural expertise and background, explaining what she grew and where. There are photographs here that I have never seen before of Beatrix and her gardens, and delicious watercolors of rose hips and violets, clematis and honeysuckle, snapdragons and waterlilies—with and without rabbits, frogs and guileless ducks.” —The Telegraph
“A volume rich with photographs and Potter’s own enchanting sketches and watercolors.” —The Chicago Tribune
“McDowell brings to light a delightfully different side of the celebrated author. . . . The book recounts Potter’s life through a gardening lens and is copiously illustrated with her sketches and watercolors of plants.” —American Gardener
“McDowell’s book is beautiful in every way. The fascinating narrative is liberally illustrated with both photographs and Potter’s original artwork, which includes botanical prints and paintings of gardens in addition to her iconic collection of children’s illustrations.” —Cape Codder
“This is not an historical novel with a plot, but neither is it a mere documentary of facts. It is the perfect blend of both.” —Alaska Airlines Magazine
“You may well want to buy a copy to keep and several to give friends. . . . McDowell’s well-researched book (including plant lists) is nearly as good as a visit to the farm. From a watercolor of Jemima Puddle-duck hiding from a fox among the foxgloves, to sepia photos of Potter strolling the garden paths on a frosty morning, the book is a visual delight.” —The Seattle Times